New Brunswick

Kenneth Esson gets full parole 36 years after Miramichi-area murders

A man from northeastern New Brunswick who killed two teenagers and left another for dead near Miramichi in the late 1980s has been granted full parole.

Esson was convicted of killing two teens in 1986 in Miramichi area

A frame from old video shows a man with a beard, wearing a jacket and a sweater. Another man wearing a suit is behind him.
Kenneth Esson, convicted in 1987 of two murders and attempted murder, has been granted full parole. (CBC)

A man from northeastern New Brunswick who killed two teenagers and left another for dead near Miramichi in the late 1980s has been granted full parole.

Kenneth Esson, 58, of Neguac was serving a life sentence for first and second-degree murder, attempted murder and sexual assault committed in 1986.

The Parole Board of Canada granted Esson full parole in a Jan. 5 decision provided to CBC News on Monday.

The decision says "the board finds that you have reached the stage of your life sentence when allowing you to transition to full parole will not place the public at an undue risk by virtue of you reoffending."

Esson has been on day parole since 2018 other than a short time when it was revoked in 2020. The board had denied him full parole that year.

The callousness and brutality of the offences cannot be adequately stated in words.- Parole Board of Canada decision

"Although your … offences were clearly horrific, you have made considerable progress for a sustained period of time."

Esson was sentenced in 1987 after pleading guilty to murdering a 13-year-old and 19-year-old, and attempting to murder a 14-year-old. His parole eligibility was set at 25 years.

"The callousness and brutality of the offences cannot be adequately stated in words," the parole board decision states. 

The offences began in August 1986 after an argument with his spouse. The parole board decision states he left his home and consumed drugs and alcohol. 

While in his vehicle he noticed two teenage girls riding their bikes on a dirt road in Lower Newcastle. He grabbed a knife and followed them. 

He stabbed both girls multiple times and raped the 14-year-old, who survived. She was found the next morning by her family members, who had had spent the night searching for the two girls.

Six weeks later, Esson contacted a former girlfriend and an argument ensued. After choking the 19-year-old, he drove her to a gravel pit and pushed her from the vehicle, and she hit her head on a rock. He then killed her. 

Esson fled the province but returned and was later arrested.

Pain remains for victim, families

The decision says victim impact statements describe "shock, trauma, pain, loss, anger and grief" suffered by the surviving victim and families of the victims.

One recent statement from a victim's family member "makes it clear that time has not abated the harm you have caused."

He was ordered to not consume, purchase or possess alcohol or drugs other than prescribed medication. He was also ordered not to be in the presence of any women under 18 unless accompanied by an adult aware of his criminal history. 

He also must report sexual and non-sexual relationships or friendships with anyone who has parental responsibility for female children and report changes to the status of the relationships or friendships to his parole supervisor.

"In order to manage your risk to reoffend, your access to young females must be strictly controlled and monitored," the decision states. 

Esson was barred from contacting the surviving victim or any member of the victims' families. 

He also was ordered not to relocate to the mainland of British Columbia. CBC previously reported Esson had been living at a halfway home in Victoria while on day parole.


Shane Magee


Shane Magee is a Moncton-based reporter for CBC. He can be reached at